Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter isn't making a big deal out of new U.S. Census Bureau numbers that confirm a steady growth in Payson's population.
The new census figures, released this week, put Payson's population at 14,729 as of July 2005, an increase of 287 residents.
Carpenter places more weight with state population figures, which put Payson's population considerably higher -- 15,430 as of July 1, 2005.
The state numbers, which come from the Population Statistics Unit of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, are what the town goes by.
"Because the numbers produced by the USCB are estimates, they differ from those being used by the town," Carpenter said.
But by both measures, Payson is growing, along with Gila County. Globe, however, is losing population.
According to the census estimates, Payson's population grew from 14,442 in 2004 to 14,729 in 2005, an increase of about 2 percent growth in that year.
After the official U.S. Census in 2000, the town's population was put at 13,684.
The 2004-2005 increase is the largest single-year increase the community has seen since 2000, with 287 additional residents. The biggest previous jump was between 2001 and 2002, when Payson saw an increase of 235 residents.
The state numbers also show that Payson has more than twice the population of Globe, the county seat. Globe, according to the state, had 7,495 residents as of July 1, 2005, down from its population of 7,505 in 2004.
"Star Valley had 2,006," Carpenter said.
However, a challenge is being made to that number, he said.
If the Central Arizona Association of Governments is successful in disputing the estimates on behalf of its members, Carpenter said the town's population could be increased by about 200.
The outcome of the challenge will not be known until the fall, he said.
According to the U.S. figures released this week, Gila County overall had a population of 51,663 in 2005. In 2004, the county population was 51,311.
The total in 2003 was 51,336, down from 2002's count of 51,519.
The DES sets the county's population at 54,450, Carpenter said.
Payson vs. Globe
Payson is now more than double the size of Globe, the county seat. State Department of Economic Security estimates are:
July 2005: 15,450
July 2004: 15,120
July 2005: 7,495
July 2004: 7,505